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Residents urged to rally against hospital cuts

Ealing residents are being encouraged to attend a rally on Saturday, 30 September to show their opposition to NHS plans to cut critical health services at Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals.

The event will begin with protest marches from both Southall Park and Acton Park leading to a rally on Ealing Common.

The march from Southall will meet at Southall Park at 11am and travel past Ealing Hospital, through Hanwell and along New Broadway to Ealing Common.

The march from Acton will meet at Acton Park at 11.30am and travel along The Vale and Acton High Street to Ealing Common. The rally will then begin at Ealing Common at 1pm.

The council has been campaigning since the NHS announced plans to shut services including some at Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals. Maternity and paediatric services at Ealing have already been closed. A decision by the Secretary of State to close the blue-light A&Es and other vital services at Ealing is expected early next year.

Significant concerns have been raised about the safety and scale of the NHS’s plan, which would leave three London boroughs, with a total population the size of Leeds, without a major hospital.

Under the ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ proposals, there will be no critical care, acute beds, blue-light ambulances, Accident and Emergency, maternity units or children’s ward in either hospital. The remaining urgent care centre at Ealing hospital would be led by GPs, not consultants.  More than 500 beds would be lost across north west London, with more than half of those going from Ealing hospital, leaving it with just 50 beds.

Charing Cross would face similar closures later.

Accident and Emergency services at Central Middlesex and Hammersmith have already closed, and maternity and children’s Accident and Emergency have been closed at Ealing Hospital. This means that many patients across north west London will have to travel further to receive treatment.  For many Ealing residents, journey time by public transport to the nearest remaining A&E will be at least 40 minutes.

Council leader Julian Bell said: “We are urging as many people as possible to attend the rally to show their support for our local hospitals. If you, your friends or your family have ever needed to call upon these services then now is the time to act to protect them so that they continue to be here when we need them.

“If these plans go ahead they will leave thousands of people without local access to essential services including A&Es, intensive care, maternity and paediatric units, while those with some chronic conditions will have to travel further for regular treatment.

“To strip out all of the vital services, reduce the number of beds by 80% and still call it a ‘local’ hospital is pure spin and we are not falling for it.

“The recent report, published by The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust and prepared by the country’s leading health experts, vindicates everything we have been saying since these ill-conceived plans were first presented.

“Local people tell me they are really worried about these plans. We want to give residents the opportunity to come together and show government their outrage at these plans.”

Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham Councils have also launched a petition to oppose the NHS plans and are urging residents and those that work in the area to support the campaign. The petition is available online at www.sohpetition.co.uk.  It is due to close early next year at which point it will be delivered to the government.

Visit www.ealing.gov.uk/soh for more information and to sign-up for updates.

The King’s Fund report on London’s STP was published on Tuesday, 12 September www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/sustainability-and-transformation-plans-london

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